ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

About Lord Varuna
Lord Varuna is revered in Hinduism as the God of water and his sway extends to the underwater world. The Hindu Goddess Varuni is his consort and a Makara serves as his mount. According to the Puranas, he is the son of sage Kashyapa and one of the twelve Gods considered as Adityas, owing to their origin from the Mother of Gods, Aditi. Varuna possesses the lordship of the waters and was entrusted with the task of overseeing the clouds and rains. He is thus known as the king of waters and controls the Oceans, Seas, Rivers, and all other water bodies. During the Mahabharata period, the great Pandava, Arjuna was hailed as the son of Lord Varuna. It is also widely believed that praying to him protects us from thunder and lighting.

Lord Varuna
Legend of Lord Varuna
Lord Varuna played a prominent role in the Hindu epic Ramayana, when Lord Rama surveyed the waters in a bid to cross over to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita who was kidnapped by the demon king Ravana and held captive on the island. Lord Rama performed penance for three days and three nights to Varuna, the Lord of the oceans. When Rama received no response from Varuna, he was enraged and went about destroying the oceans and the creatures residing within. Varuna was mortified and arose from the depths of the waters to plead with Rama and expressed his helplessness at the situation. He pleaded with Rama to destroy the demonic race residing within the ocean. Rama did so and cleansed the waters of the impurities thereby establishing a cleaner environment. This greatly pleased Varuna and he pledged to keep the waters still for Rama’s army to pass.

Qualities of Lord Varuna
Lord Varuna is considered one among the oldest Vedic deities and his presence pervades the entire world. Since he is associated with the clouds, rains, water, rivers and oceans, he is regarded as the sustainer of life by providing rain and crops. Several temples dedicated to him exist on the Indian sub-continent and he is depicted riding on a crocodile or riding a chariot drawn by seven swans, holding a lotus, noose, conch, and a vessel of gems. He is also shown with an umbrella over his head and sometimes associated as a God carrying a serpent.

Lord Varuna is also revered in his role as a God of Law & Underworld and said to possess the attributes of a Solar deity. He is also closely associated with the night and the moon planet. Varuna is held in high regard in Vedic texts which venerate him as the omnipotent force of the Universe and also associate him with the Lord of the Heavens, Indra. His worship is crucial in the Sandhyavandanam ritual and it is said he is endowed with the power to grant immortality. Also regarded as the guardian of the western direction, Lord Varuna is one of the important Gods in the Hindu pantheon. Varuna is also revered in several religions across the world, including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Shintosim.

Varuna is also closely associated with the festival of Rakhi in some parts of western India; and on Raksha Bandhan day, devotees offer coconuts to the deity as a mark of respect. Chanting the Varuna Mantra is also said propitiate the Lord and bring forth plentiful rains.

Varuna: Hindu God of Sky and Water
A part of the ancient and complicated Hindu religion, Varuna was the god of the sky, oceans, and water.

There are millions and millions of Hindu gods and goddesses. Most Hindus cannot even agree on how many there might be. Varuna is not as important in present-day Hinduism but he is one of the oldest deities in the Hindu pantheon.

In the days when Hinduism was more pantheistic in nature, Varuna was one of the most powerful gods. The people prayed to him for good weather and rain, which was very important for a pastoral and agricultural society.

Who is Varuna?
In early Hinduism, Varuna was one of the most important gods. He presided over various domains and had many jurisdictions. He was the god of the sky and a water god, which meant that he also ruled over the celestial ocean that the Hindus believed surrounded the Earth. Lord Varuna was also considered the lord of justice (rta) and truth (satya).

Varuna was considered to be one of the Asuras in early Vedic times. In the earliest Hindu scriptures, there were two kinds of celestial beings – the Asuras and the Vedas. Among the Asuras, the Adityas or the Sons of Aditi were the benevolent deities while the Danavas or the Sons of Danu were the malevolent deities. Varuna was the leader of the Adityas.

In the later years of Vedic mythology, the influence and power of the Asuras waned as Devas like Indra and Rudra became more important. The Asuras gradually came to be viewed as malevolent beings as a whole. However, Lord Varuna is viewed as an ambivalent deity at best. It may be that he became classified as a Deva in later years when the Deva Indra became king and the primordial cosmos was properly structured. While not as important as in the early Vedic times, he is still prayed to by Hindus all over the world.

Associations with Other Sky Gods
Many scholars believe that Varuna shares some characteristics with the ancient sky god Uranus of Greek mythology. Not only are their names very similar, but Uranus is also the god of the night sky. Varuna is the god of the sky as well as the celestial ocean that surrounds the Earth which scholars interpret as the Milky Way. Thus, they may both have descended from an earlier common Indo-European deity, as suggested by famous sociologist Emile Durkheim.

Varuna may also have been worshiped by the ancient civilizations of Iran as their Supreme God Ahura Mazda. In Slavic mythology, Perun is the god of the sky, storms, and rain. There are ancient Turkish inscriptions about a god of the sky called Urvana. This seems to point to an overarching Proto-Indo-European sky god that was adapted to different cultures.

Origins of Varuna
According to Indian mythology, Varuna was the son of the goddess Aditi, the goddess of infinity, and the Sage Kashyapa. He was the most prominent of the Adityas, the Sons of Aditi, and is considered a Sun god of sorts (since ‘Aditya’ means ‘sun’ in Sanskrit). Varuna was associated with the dark side of the sun, however, and gradually developed into the god of the night sky.

Hinduism, and the Vedic religion before it, believed that there were several realms overlapping the mortal realm we live in. Lord Varuna lived in the realm of sukha, meaning happiness, which was the highest world. He lived in a golden mansion with a thousand columns and dispensed justice on humankind from high above.

Lord Varuna was the keeper of moral law. It was his duty to punish those who committed crimes without any remorse and to forgive those who made mistakes but repented for them. The Vedic religion and texts also mention his special connection to rivers and oceans.

Etymology of Varuna
The name ‘Varuna’ may have been derived from the Sanskrit root ‘vr’ which means ‘to cover’ or ‘to surround’ or even ‘to bind.’ The suffix ‘una’ added to ‘vr’ means ‘he who surrounds’ or ‘he who binds.’ This is an obvious reference to the celestial river or ocean that surrounds the world and is ruled over by Varuna. But even apart from that, ‘he who binds’ might also mean Lord Varuna binding humankind to the universal and moral laws.

The second gives rise to further theories about the connection between Varuna and Uranus, whose ancient name was Ouranos. Both names are probably derived from the Proto-Indo-European root word ‘uer’ meaning ‘binding.’ According to Indian and Greek mythology, Varuna binds human beings and especially the wicked to law while Ouranos binds the Cyclopes inside Gaia or the earth. However, most modern scholars reject this theory and this particular root for the name Ouranos.

Iconography, Symbolism, and Powers
In Vedic religion, Varuna comes in various forms, not always anthropomorphic. He is usually shown as a fiery white figure, seated on a mythical creature called Makara. There has been great speculation about what the Makara might actually be. Some say that it is a crocodile or a dolphin-like creature. Others speculate that it is a beast with the legs of an antelope and the tail of a fish.

The Vedic texts state that Varuna has four faces, as many of the other Hindu gods and goddesses do. Each face is positioned looking in different directions. Varuna also has several arms. He is usually depicted with a snake in one hand and a noose, his weapon of choice and a symbol of justice, in the other. Other objects he is depicted with are the conch, the lotus, a container of jewels, or an umbrella over his head. He wears a short golden cloak and golden armor, perhaps to depict his position as a solar deity.

Varuna sometimes travels in a chariot drawn by seven swans. Hiranyapaksha, the great golden-winged bird, is his messenger. Some theories say that this mythical bird may have been inspired by the flamingo because of its bright wings and exotic appearance.

Varuna is also at times shown seated on a jeweled throne with his wife Varuni at his side. They are usually surrounded by various gods and goddesses of the rivers and seas that make up Varuna’s court. Most of the symbolism thus connects Varuna to water bodies and voyages by sea.

Varuna and Maya
Lord Varuna also has certain powers that make him seem more mysterious and obscure than the other Vedic gods. Varuna has dominion over various kinds of natural phenomena as the god of the sky and water. Thus, he can bring rain, control the weather, provide clean water, and direct and redirect rivers. Human beings prayed to him for millennia for precisely this reason.

However, Varuna’s control over these elements is not as straightforward as it may be with Indra and the other Devas. Varuna is said to rely heavily on maya, meaning ‘illusion’ or ‘trickery.’ Does this mean that Varuna is a trickster god or evil? Not really. It simply means that he is heavily involved in magic and mysticism, which makes him a figure of mystery and fascination. This is why Varuna in later Hinduism has gained a reputation of ambiguity. He is classed with beings such as Yama, the god of death, or Rudra, the god of disease and wild animals. These are neither wholly good nor evil deities and they are both mysterious and intimidating to the average human.

Varuna in Hindu Mythology and Literature
Varuna, as a part of the early Vedic pantheon, had a number of hymns dedicated to him in the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas. As far as old Hinduism is concerned, it is difficult to separate the Vedic religion from mythology. The lives of the gods and their deeds are very entwined with how they are worshiped. Along with that, there is also history to consider, since real deeds and legends were often presented as one and the same.

Varuna makes appearances or is mentioned in both of the great Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Much like the Iliad and Odyssey, scholars are still not sure how much of the epics is truth and how much is simply a myth.

Another ancient piece of Hindu literature that Varuna is mentioned in is the Tamil grammar book Tolkappiyam. This work divided the ancient Tamils into five landscape divisions and each landscape had a god associated with it. The outermost landscape, along the shores of the Indian peninsula, is called neithal. It is the seashore landscape and is occupied by traders and fishermen. The god designated to neithal was Varunan, the god of sea and rain. In the Tamil language, ‘varuna’ means water and denotes the ocean.

Varuna in the Ramayana
The Ramayana is a very old Sanskrit epic. It is about the life of Prince Rama of Ayodhya and his battle against the demon Ravana in a mission to rescue his beloved wife Sita. Rama had the help of an army of monkeys and they had to build an enormous bridge across the sea to reach Ravana’s homeland, Lanka.

Lord Varuna appeared in the epic and had an encounter with Prince Rama. When Rama had to cross the ocean to reach Lanka in order to rescue Sita, he was faced with a dilemma on how to manage this feat. So he prayed to the god of water, Varuna, for three days and three nights. Varuna did not answer.

Rama was enraged. He rose up on the fourth day and declared that Varuna did not respect his peaceful attempts to cross the ocean. He said that he would have to resort to violence instead since it seemed even the gods only understood that. Rama drew his bow and decided to dry up the entire sea with his arrow. The sandy seabed would then allow his army of monkeys to walk across.

As Rama summoned the Brahmastra, a weapon of mass destruction that could obliterate even a god, Varuna rose out of the waters and bowed to Rama. He begged him not to be angry. Varuna himself could not change the nature of the ocean and dry it up. It was too deep and vast for that. Instead, he said that Rama and his army could build a bridge to cross the ocean. No god would disturb them while they built the bridge and marched across it.

In most retellings of the Ramayana, it is actually Samudra, the god of the sea, to who Rama prayed. But in certain retellings, including a more modern take on the Ramayana by author Ramesh Menon, it is Varuna who plays this role.

Varuna in the Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is the story of an immense war between two sets of cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Most of the kings of the region and even some of the gods take a hand in this great war. It is the longest surviving epic poem in the world, much longer than the Bible or even the Iliad and Odyssey put together.

In the Mahabharata, Varuna has been mentioned a few times, although he does not appear in it himself. He is said to be an admirer of Krishna, an incarnation of the great Hindu god Vishnu. Krishna once defeated Varuna in battle which gave rise to his respect for him.

Before the battle began, Varuna is said to have gifted weapons to Krishna and the third Pandava brother Arjuna. Varuna gave Krishna the Sudarshan Chakra, a round-throwing ancient weapon that Krishna is always depicted with. He also gifted Arjuna the Gandiva, a divine bow, as well as two quivers filled with arrows that would never run out. The bow came to great use in the great Kurukshetra war.

Varuna and Mitra
Lord Varuna is often mentioned in close association with another member of the Vedic pantheon, Mitra. They are often called Varuna-Mitra as a conjoined deity and are thought to be in charge of societal affairs and human conventions. Mitra, who like Varuna was an Asura originally, was thought to be the personification of oath. Together, Varuna-Mitra were the gods of oath.

Mitra was a representation of the more human side of religion, like rituals and sacrifices. Varuna, on the other hand, was the omnipresent, omniscient representation of the whole cosmos. He was the keeper of moral law and worked with Mitra to ensure that humans adhered to the laws and rules of the universe.

Together, Varuna-Mitra is also called the lord of light.

Worship and Festivals
Hinduism has hundreds of festivals, each celebrating different gods and goddesses. A particular festival is even celebrated in honor of different deities in different regions. Lord Varuna has several festivals dedicated to him around the year. These festivals are celebrated by different communities and regions all over India.

Cheti Chand
Cheti Chand is a festival that takes place during the Hindu month of Chaitra, from mid-March to mid-April. The purpose of the Cheti Chand festival is to mark the beginning of spring and a new harvest. It is a major festival for the Sindhi Hindus especially since it also marks the birth of Uderolal.

The Sindhi Hindus were said to have prayed to Varuna or Varun Dev, as they called him, to save them from the Muslim ruler Mirkhshah who was persecuting them. Varun Dev then took the form of an old man and warrior who preached to Mirkhshah. He said that Hindus and Muslims should all have religious freedom and the right to practice their religions in their own ways. Known as Jhulelal, Varun Dev became the champion of the people of Sindh, whether Muslim or Hindu.

Cheti Chand is celebrated on his birthday, as per Sindhi legend, and it is considered the first day of the new year in the Sindhi Hindu calendar. Uderolal was his birth name and it is still not clear how he came to be known as Jhulelal. The Hindus consider him to be an incarnation of Varuna. The muslims call him Khwaja Khizr.

Chaliya Sahib
Another important festival of the Sindhi Hindus is Chaliya Sahib. It is also known as Chalio or Chaliho. It is a 40-day-long festival celebrated during the months of July and August. The dates may vary according to the Hindu calendar, which is a lunar calendar unlike the Gregorian one.

Chaliya Sahib is mainly a festival to give thanks to Varun Dev or Jhulelal. The story goes that when Mirkhshah gave the Hindus of Sindh an ultimatum to convert to Islam or be persecuted, they asked for a period of 40 days before making the conversion. During those 40 days, they prayed to Varuna by the banks of the Indus river and did penance. They fasted and sang songs. Finally, Lord Varuna is said to have replied to them and informed them that he would be born to a particular couple as a mortal to save them.

The Sindhi Hindus still celebrate Varuna during these 40 days. They observe a fast, offer prayers, and lead a very simple and ascetic life for those days. They also offer thanks to the lord for saving them from forced conversion.

Nārali Poornima
Nārali Poornima is celebrated in the state of Maharashtra by the Hindu fishing communities of the area. It is a ceremonial day that is observed especially around Mumbai and the Konkan coast in western India. The festival is celebrated during the Hindu month of Shravan, from mid-July to mid-August, on the full moon day (‘poornima’ being the Sanskrit word for ‘full moon’).

The fishing communities pray to Lord Varuna, the deity of water and seas. They offer ceremonial gifts such as coconuts, rice, and flowers to the deity.

Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is a festival celebrated all over India. It celebrated the Hindu tradition of sisters tying amulets around the wrists of their brothers. It is meant to be a talisman for their protection. The celebration falls during the Hindu month of Shravan.

Raksha Bandhan usually has no religious associations and is more about kinship bonds and social rites. However, in some parts of western India, Raksha Bandhan has become linked with Nārali Poornima. Thus, on Raksha Bandhan people offer coconuts and prayers to the god Varuna to ask for his blessings and protection.

Varuna and Sri Lankan Tamils
Lord Varuna is not only worshiped by Hindus in India but also by Hindus in other countries. Apart from the Sindhi Hindus of western India and parts of Pakistan, one of the largest communities that pray to Varuna is the Sri Lankan Tamils.

There is a Sri Lankan Tamil caste called Karaiyar, who live on the northern and eastern coastlines of Sri Lanka and more widely among the Tamil diaspora. Traditionally, they were a seafaring community. They were involved in fishing, sea trade, and shipments. They were a wealthy community of maritime traders and fishermen who shipped goods like pearls and tobacco to countries like Myanmar, Indonesia, and India. They were a warrior caste and well-known army generals to Tamil kings. They were also heavily involved in the Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism movement in the 1980s.

The Karaiyar had several clans, some of which they claimed could be traced back to the kingdoms of the Mahabharata era. One of the clans was also named after Varuna, due to his significance as the god of water and oceans. Varuna is not only the clan deity of the seafaring Karaiyar people but their emblem is also the Makara, the mount of Varuna. This symbol can be commonly found on their flags.

Varuna in Other Religions
Apart from his significance in Vedic texts and the Hindu religion, evidence of Varuna can be found in other religions and schools of thought as well. Mentions of Varuna or some deity close to Varuna have been found in Buddhism, Japanese Shintoism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism.

Varuna is recognized as a deity in both the Mahayana and Theravada schools of Buddhism. As the oldest existing school of Buddhism, Theravada has a large number of written works that survive to this day. These are in the Pali language and are known as the Pali Canon. According to this, Varuna was a king of the devas, along with figures like Sakra, Prajapati, and Ishana.

The texts state that there was a war between the devas and the asuras. The devas looked upon the banner of Varuna and gained the courage needed to fight the war. All their fears were immediately dispelled. The philosopher Buddhaghosa said that Varuna was equal in glory and might to Sakra, the ruler of the Buddhist heavens. He took the third seat in the assembly of the devas.

In the Mahayana Buddhism of East Asia, Varuna is considered a dharmapala (defender of justice, guardian of the law). He was also called one of the Twelve Devas and was said to preside over the western direction. In Buddhist Japanese mythology, he is known as Suiten or ‘water deva.’ He is classified alongside eleven other devas also found in Hindu mythology, like Yama, Agni, Brahma, Prithvi, and Surya.

The Japanese Shinto religion also reveres Varuna. One of the Shinto shrines at which he is worshiped is called Suitengu or ‘the palace of Suiten.’ It is located in Tokyo. In 1868, the Japanese emperor and government implemented a policy called shinbutsu bunri. This separated Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan.

Shinto kami were separated from buddhas and Shinto shrines from Buddhist temples. This was a part of the Meiji Restoration. When this happened, Varuna or Suiten came to be identified with Ame-no-Minakanushi, the supreme one among all the Japanese gods.

One last religion that is very important when we talk about Varuna is Zoroastrianism, the religion of the ancient Iranians. In a fascinating inversion to Indian mythology, the asuras are the higher deities in Zoroastrianism while the devas are relegated to the position of lower demons. The Avesta, the Zoroastrian holy book, talks about Ahura Mazda, a supreme omnipotent deity who encompasses all the asuras into one being.

Varuna is not mentioned by name in their mythology. However, Ahura Mazda in his role as deity charged with keeping cosmic order is very similar to the role Varuna played in Vedic mythology.

Ahura Mazda is linked to the Avestan Mithra, the deity of covenant, oath, justice, and light, just as Varuna is so often linked to the Vedic Mitra. The similar names and roles of these gods leave no doubt as to their being the same deity.

Finally, Ahura Mazda is linked to Asha Vahishta, the equivalent of the Hindu Sage Vasishtha. In Hindu mythology, Vasishtha was the son of Varuna-Mitra and the nymph Urvashi. In Iranian mythology, Asha Vahishta was a divine being who aided Ahura Mazda in carrying out his will in the world.

Given all these similarities and links, it seems very likely that Ahura Mazda and Varuna had similar origins. Thus, Varuna was most probably an Indo-European god from the earliest periods of civilization who was adapted by various different cultures in different ways.

Lord Varuna – The Vedic God of the Oceans
Lord Varuna is one of the oldest and most important Vedic deities, described at length in hymns of Rig Veda. The Four Vedas have been described as the supreme, all-knowing deity who created Heavens, Earth, and Air. He is believed to be omnipresent and omniscient.

As the word, Varuna means “he who covers,” Lord Varuna is believed to be someone who encompasses the whole world. Thus, he is generally worshipped as the personification of the sky. But it is thought that he is also the controller of rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, and other water reservoirs, thus giving him the title of “God of the Oceans.”

Family Tree of Varuna
Lord Varuna is believed to be the son of Sage Kashyapa. He is said to have originated from Aditi, the mother of Gods; he is also acknowledged as Aditya. According to the Vedas, he has a thousand eyes that help him to oversee the whole world.

He had 8 sons: Sushena, Vandi, Dakshasavarni Manu, Vasishtha, Pushkara, Bala, Sura, Andharmaka, and a daughter named Varuni.

Iconography of Varuna
Lord Varuna is often pictured as riding a chariot drawn by seven swans while holding the lotus, noose, conch, and vessel of gems along with an umbrella held over his head. However, in some pictures, he is also shown as a fair-complexioned man in golden armor riding a Makara (sea monster) and holding a noose made of a snake.

Some temples in the Indian subcontinent have depicted him as riding on a crocodile. In other pictures, Varuna is shown sitting with his wife, Varuni, on a throne of diamonds and the gods and goddesses of the different rivers, lakes, and springs forming his court.

Varuna in Vedas
In Veda, Being able to oversee the world with his thousand eyes, Lord Varuna is often also associated with moral law and community affairs. He is believed to punish those who go out of the realms of law. He was known to punish mortals who did not keep their word, and his usual method of punishment was to capture the offender with his noose.

The Rig Veda 10.123 mentions a golden-winged bird called Hiranyapaksha as the messenger of Varuna. While this bird is often considered mythical, it is more likely to refer to flamingos because of its vibrant wings. The Sukta (hymn) also describes the vulture as the messenger of Yama, and interestingly, both birds share similar beak morphology. Flamingos are commonly found near seashores and marshlands, which further supports this interpretation.

Varuna and Mitra are considered gods associated with societal affairs, including oaths, and they are often mentioned together as Mitra-Varuna. In the Rigveda, they are classified as Asuras (demons), although they are also addressed as Devas (deities). Varuna, initially recognized as the king of the Asuras, transformed to become a Deva after the restructuring of the primordial cosmos, which was brought about by Indra’s defeat of Vrtra.

But Lord Varuna also forgives as he is said to forgive those who repent their sins and pray. He is also the keeper of cosmic order, a force called “rta,” which means justice. As the one who enforces the law, he is worshipped as the keeper of divine order and enforcer of contracts.

Lord Rama and Varuna
In Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, Lord Rama finds himself facing the formidable challenge of crossing the vast ocean to rescue his beloved wife, Sita, who has been abducted by Ravana. In his quest, Rama undertakes a profound period of prayer and tapasya (austerities) to connect with Varuna.

After pleading with Varuna for three days and nights, Rama becomes frustrated as there is no response from the Lord of Oceans. He shares his disappointment with Lakshmana, feeling that only force and violence receive attention, while gentle prayers go unheard.

Driven by his determination, Rama decides to take matters into his own hands. He readies his bow and arrow, planning to attack the ocean and dry up its waters to create a path for his monkey army to reach Ravana’s kingdom. However, Lakshmana steps in, urging Rama to find a way to win the war without harming the sea, appealing to his sense of compassion.

Despite Lakshmana’s plea, Rama remains resolute. He shoots a powerful arrow into the ocean, causing it to burst into flames. As Rama continues his relentless assault, Varuna, the Lord of Oceans, emerges from the depths. Recognizing Rama’s unwavering determination, Varuna bows before him, admitting his lack of knowledge in assisting Rama. He explains that the vast and unyielding nature of the sea cannot be easily changed.

In a moment of profound wisdom, Varuna advises Rama to remember his true nature, which is characterized by peace and love, rather than anger and wrath. Varuna assures Rama of his support, pledging that he and his army will not be disturbed as they construct a bridge and make their way to Lanka.

Varuna and Lord Indra
But even though previously considered the king of the universe, in later Hindu belief, it is said that he lost his supreme authority to Lord Indra. There are two explanations for the downfall. One possible reason is that when Vritra stole all the waters of the universe, which was under the charge of Varun, it was Indra who fought the demon and got the water back.

Because of this, Indra was able to replace the overlordship of Varuna. Another explanation is the great conflict between gods and demons, after the end of which each God was assigned a clearly defined sphere of influence to avoid further conflicts. Since then, Indra became the god of the atmosphere, whereas Varuna was limited to the guardianship of the oceans. There, he is said to keep watch over the various demons of the ocean.

Nevertheless, Lord Varuna is still worshipped as the guardian of the Western direction. Lord Varuna’s worship is also considered to be a vital part of the ritual Sandhyavandanam.

Worshiping Lord Varuna
Hindus worship Lord Varuna in different forms and methods. A legend associated with the festival of Rakhi is that of the worship offered to the sea god Lord Varuna. On the Raksha Bandhan day, devotees offer coconuts to him. He is said to be closely linked with God Mitra and Yama.

ॐ जल बिम्बाय विद्महे नील पुरुषाय धीमहि तन्नो वरुण: प्रचोदयात् ।।

Aum Jalbimbaye Vidmahe
Nila Purushaye Dhimahi
Tanno Varunah Prachodayat

Varuna Gayatri Mantra
Meaning: Om, Let us meditate on the reflection of water. O Lord of ocean blue, give me higher intellect. And let the God of water illuminate my mind.

Chanting this mantra brings order and restoration to the mind, body, family, house, career, and education, removes disorders and safeguards against water-related dangers, enhances love between individuals, reveals inner faults, purifies from past sins, and encourages reflection on the cosmic order upheld by Lord Varuna.

Hindu God of Water and Sea
Hinduism, also known as Dharma, is the term for the major religion of South Asia, specifically India. The term itself is only loosely accurate, as it combines an enormous variety of deities and cultural structures that are separate from monotheistic religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as other polytheistic religions such as Buddhism. Because of the different foundations of Hinduism and its lack of formal statements of faith like other religions, it is proper to consider Hinduism as both encompassing religious practices and ways of life. These include choosing which deities to worship and having a belief in the process of reincarnation and karma, or the idea of actions taken in life affecting individuals after death. Other common rituals are found among practicing Hindus that order their lives and connect them as a community. These religious practices are found in the ancient Veda text, which explains them and the variety of deities who rule over parts of the world.

Within this complicated structure, one of the major deities of Hinduism was Varuna, in Sanskrit, “to surround”, who was the god of water, sky, and oceans. Varuna was prominent in the early iterations of Hinduism. In Indian religious tradition, Varuna was known as a moral authority and capable of punishing those who violated divine law and truth. He had a specific interest in the relationships between gods and humans, and watched everything through the sun and stars. However, his importance changed over time in Hinduism as he was replaced by the god Indra, and later he became known for having patronage over water, both salt and fresh.

Varuna in Mythology
Varuna was a god of the cosmos and the major god of the Adityas, or the children of the goddess of infinity, Aditi, in early Hindu mythology. Varuna gained his role merely because of his status as god of the sky, making him a king by nature. His home was in Sukha, or “happiness,” and he was recognized as all-knowing. Earlier versions of him had special patronage over water travel, which may have contributed to his later role as a water god. He had strong connections to morality and was said to watch all mortals at all times and punish them for serious sins.

Varuna’s family tree included his mother, Aditi, and his sage father, Kashyapa. Although Varuna is the brother of the Adityas, he was most often linked with his brother Mitra in prayer, as the two represented the relationship between gods and humans in ritual contracts and morality. Varuna’s wives were the goddesses Varuni and Riddi, patrons of alcohol and prosperity, respectively. Different sources also reference his various children, such as his son, Rishi Vashishtha, to whom he granted special divine knowledge and wisdom. His other children included Pushkara and Bala, who represented nourishment and strength.

Despite his early prominence, Varuna’s place was quickly usurped by Indra, who assumed control over the whole of creation, relegating Varuna to the role of the god of waters and the sea. In addition, Varuna and his fellow gods, who were lowered in status, also gained some negative, demonic connotations with the rise of other gods. Varuna’s use of deception, or maya, to benefit mortals by punishing them, contributed to his loss of esteem.Are Varuna and Indra the same?
Varuna and Indra are not the same. Varuna was the first lord of the Cosmos, simply through his divine nature and parentage. Indra, however, usurped power from Varuna.

Is Varuna a god or goddess?
Varuna is a god in the Hindu pantheon. He was initially regarded as the lord of the sky, but later became associated with water and the oceans.


Varuna “the one who encompasses the whole world” is one of the oldest Vedic deities. He is the personification of the sky and is also associated with clouds and water, rivers and ocean. He sustains live by giving rain and crops. He has thousand eyes and oversees the whole world. In some of the temples he is depicted as riding on a crocodile. In two of his four arms, he holds a serpent and the noose (pasa). Sometimes he is pictured as riding in a chariot drawn by seven swans and holding the lotus, the noose, the conch and a vessel of gems in the four hands with an umbrella over his head.

Varuna deva is the god of water, oceans, and the night sky. He is also the guardian (lokapala) of the west direction. He is one of the Adityas, the 12 sons of Kashyapa and Aditi. Varuna is paired with Mitra many times as Mitra-Varuna because of their similar characteristics. Varuna’s capital city is called Shraddhavati. Varuna is also a member of the assembly of Brahma. The mantra to invoke Varun deva is ‘Om Vam Varunaya Namaha.


  • Father: Kashyapa
  • Mother: Aditi
  • Brothers: Indra, Mitra, Amsa, Aryaman, Dhatri, Bhaga, Pusan, Tvastra, Parjanya, Surya, Vishnu (as Vamana)
  • Wives: Sunodevi, Nevijyeshta, Charsani, Gauri
  • Sons: Kali, Vaidya, Bala, Sura, Adharmaka, Vandi, Sushena, Pushkara, Hiranya, Vasishta Apava, Agastya
  • Daughter: Varuni, Surasundari, Suranandini

Becoming God of the Water

In Satya Yuga, after Indra killed Vritra, all the devas approached Varuna. “You must become the lord of the waters. You can reside in the ocean. All the rivers and oceans will obey your command. You will wax and wane like Chandra (the Moon),” the devas said. Varuna agreed to their request and Varuna became the god of water.


His weapons are the Varunpasha and the Varunastra. Both of them are really powerful. The Varunpasha is made of snakes.